Boat overturns on bar

THREE people were rescued after a boat overturned on the treacherous Ballina bar early Saturday.

Just after 6.30am, a five-metre catamaran, carrying three men, overturned while attempting to enter the river mouth over the bar.

Ballina Jet Boat Rescue driver Mark Puglisi said the men were found 200m off North wall.

“They were in the water huddled together all wearing life jackets,” he said

“They attempted to go out on the boat and it was a bit rough so they came back in and a wave hit them from behind.”

Police said the three men – aged 48, 49 and 50 – were thrown in the water and began drifting north in the current.

They were “on their way” to hypothermia, Mr Puglisi said.

It’s believed two of the men rescued were locals and the other man was from Canberra.

They were all taken by the jet boat to the Fawcett Street Wharf, where they were met by ambulance and police.

The boat, an aluminium shark catamaran, has been anchored about 400m off Shelly Beach.

The sloppy sea, with a short, sharp swell outside the bar, made conditions very unpredictable, Mr Puglisi said.

Police said the boat was waiting to cross the bar when a wave picked it up and spun it sideways, causing it to capsize.

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